Ear infections are super painful. The area is so sensitive that you want to be extra gentle with it. That’s why it’s useful to know some home remedies. Both children and adults can get ear infections, but they’re much more common in kids. In fact, ear infections are one of the top reasons that children go to the doctor. Their Eustachian tube, which connects from each ear to the throat, typically drains fluid. But if gets blocked? Hello, infection!
Many things can cause blockage or swelling. Examples include allergies, colds, excess mucus, and tobacco smoke. Symptoms include ear pain, fullness, and sometimes hearing loss and little ones will cry quite a bit! Most ear infections go away on their own. However, if the affected children are under 6 months old, bring them to the doctor.
Kids over 6 months old can be watched at home if they don’t have a high fever or severe pain. 1 For older kids and adults, antibiotics are sometimes prescribed. But if you simply want to avoid these side effects, try these home remedies instead.
5 Natural Home Remedies For Ear Infections
1. Warm Compress For Ear Infections
This is the least invasive remedy. The warmth will reduce swelling and promote drainage. Most importantly, it’ll relieve pain.
- Soak a clean hand towel in warm water.
- Wring out completely such that the towel is not dripping wet.
- Place it on the affected ear for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Repeat as necessary.
2. Salt Compress For Ear Infections
Salt is a cheap and natural treatment. To use it for ear infections, warm up the salt and make a compress. It’s another way to decrease swelling and pain.
- Over a low heat, warm a cup of salt in a pan or a double boiler.
- Do not toast or burn the salt.
- Scoop the warm salt onto a clean cloth.
- Tie the ends together with a rubber band.
- When it’s OK to touch, apply the compress for 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Steam For Ear Infections
Steam treatments are often done as facials, but they can fight ear infections. It can also reduce allergies, sinus problems, and stuffy noses. The warmth does wonders for swelling. Was the infection was caused by wax buildup? Steam will loosen it right up.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Carefully pour it into a large bowl.
- Drape a towel over your head.
- Turn your head to the side, with the affected ear facing down.
- Hover your head over the bowl, but don’t get too close.
- For an invigorating boost, add 2 to 3 drops of peppermint or tea tree oil.
4. Tea Tree Oil For Ear Infections
As a powerful antimicrobial, tea tree oil is a popular home remedy. It’s often used for acne and minor cuts. But thanks to its healing properties, tea tree oil can also kill the bacteria behind ear infections.
- Heat 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil and 1/8 cup of olive oil. Do not let it bubble.
- Let the mixture sit until it’s warm but not cool.
- Lie on the ear that isn’t affected.
- Using a dropper, drip 2 to 3 drops into the affected ear.
- Stay still for 3 minutes.
- Sit up and drain your ear into a cotton ball or paper towel.
- Using a cotton swab, gently clean out your ear.
5. Garlic For Ear Infections
Garlic is an ancient natural remedy. Its power comes from allicin, an active compound with antimicrobial activity. Bacteria won’t stand a chance, making it a perfect cure for ear infections.2
- Mince 1 fresh garlic clove.
- Heat 2 tablespoons sesame, mustard, or olive oil in a double boiler or pan. Do not let it bubble.
- Add the garlic and cook for 20 minutes.
- Strain out the garlic.
- Wait until the oil is warm enough to touch.
- Add 2 drops to the affected ear.
- Use once or twice a day.
- Every 24 hours, make a new batch to avoid bacterial growth.
If you don’t feel better within a few weeks, visit your doctor. You might need surgery to get tubes placed in your ears.3
|↑1||Ear infection – acute. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2||Ghasemi, Fatemeh, Fakhreddin Rezaei, Atefeh Araghi, and Mohaddeseh Abouhosseini Tabari. “Antimicrobial Activity of Aqueous-Alcoholic Extracts and the Essential Oil of Verbascum thapsus L.” Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products 10, no. 3 (2015).|
|↑3||Ear Infections. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|